STORY BY AYUB FADHIL AL-SAFI, Iraqi Ministry of Defense
The men of our Armed Forces have achieved a level of heroism that will be remembered and passed down from generation to generation. These acts exhibit bravery, sacrifice, prowess, honesty and sincerity. We will present to you some of these heroic instances that will remain alive forever. None has been brought to light by the media because no media people were there to record them. I will convey to you some of the truly heroic stories that deserve mention.
Defending Bayji Refinery
The Bayji Refinery was subjected to many terrorist attacks while Da’ish controlled Salah al-Din province. Da’ish tried in various ways to control the refinery for strategic and economic importance. Although Da’ish gangs controlled the surrounding areas, they could not control the refinery. One may wonder how the forces tasked with safeguarding the refinery were able to withstand repeated attacks. It was found later on that the commander in charge of protecting the refinery was the martyr Staff Maj. Gen. Dhayf Ayub al-Ta’i. He defended it showing the utmost courage and capability until he was martyred in the field of honor and glory. He was carrying out his duties as a courageous commander.
It may not be known to many that al-Ta’i had reached retirement age, but refused to return to his family and insisted on continuing fighting and safeguarding the refinery. He refused to return, although he was aware of the dangers that threatened the lives of the warriors who fought with him. Thus, he demonstrated a heroic stance that members of the Armed Forces will always remember.
Songs and Anthems
Warriors who belong to Babylon Operations Command repeat stories about the warrior who was famous for chanting songs and fervent national anthems. He used to chant them while they carried out attacks against the terrorist Da’ish gangs in Jurf al-Nasr prior to its liberation. They describe how this 50-year-old brave warrior, who lived in Basra province, motivated them with chants. They refer to him as a source of inspiration who empowered and encouraged them to move forward and not to fear the enemy. He always reminded them of their ancestors’ and fathers’ heroism. This brave warrior was martyred in the battle to liberate Jurf al-Nasr. May God have mercy on those who defended Iraq and were martyred for the sake of their homeland.
Rescuing Kidnapped Soldiers
This warrior, Iyad, who belongs to the First Rapid Intervention Division, demonstrated unusual valor and courage in the battlefield. This happened in al-Saqlawiyah region, when he killed five Da’ish members and rescued nine Soldiers from the terrorists. The warrior was mounting the military guard post when he encountered a surprise attack by a terrorist Da’ish gang. They were heavily armed and disguised in military uniforms. This gallant warrior’s steadfastness in confronting the enemy manifested outstanding bravery and heroism. When he saw two Hummers approaching and individuals in military uniform dismount, he thought they belonged to the counterterrorism apparatus. He began to doubt that when they took pictures of the location. Their action prompted him to call the battalion’s commander to inquire about a squad coming toward him. While he was assured by the commander that counterterrorism apparatus were not tasked with such a mission, the terrorists were trying to make him believe that they were from that particular apparatus. He then fired and killed five of them, injured others, and rescued nine Soldiers who were held by them. He was injured during this confrontation with Da’ish, but is now expected to return to the battlefield. To his other colleagues, he will be a role model in bravery and heroism.
A Warrior and His Brother
A number of Amerli residents mentioned one particular Soldier’s actions that they will always remember. This Soldier is from Dhi Qar province and belongs to the 4th Infantry/Salah al-Din Operations Command. He and a number of warriors retreated to Amerli district after the terrorist Da’ish gangs took hold of Salah al-Din province. When Da’ish carried out its barbarian-style attacks against Amerli district, he fought alongside his colleagues, police officers and members of the tribes, the majority of whom belong to Amir Tribe. This hero Soldier remained there for 50 days. He did not return to his family in Dhi Qar province during this period, and he made no contact with them; communication networks were subjected to destructive terrorist operations during the Da’ish siege of the steadfast Amerli. When airplanes started landing in the district, the Soldier was asked by the people there to visit his family so they knew he was safe and alive. They did not expect him to return to the district. Four days later, people in the district were surprised to see this hero Soldier return accompanied by his brother who came to fight and defend Amerli with him. We are proud to know that such men are defending Iraq through their acts. We salute this hero Soldier who is still fighting and defending Iraq.
Fighting Despite Injury
One Amerli resident injured by a bullet was transferred to Baghdad for treatment. When he started to recover, he refused to remain in Baghdad and insisted on returning to Amerli to continue defending it in spite of physicians’ warnings. He returned and was martyred while defending the land, alongside his tribe, which the terrorist group Da’ish wanted to seize, assault and dishonor. We salute this hero and his colleagues who defied the aggression and defended Amerli heroically.
Truthfulness and Honesty
The commander of the 5th Division located in Diyala sector honored one of the warriors for his military truthfulness and honesty. This hero Soldier found a collection of gold pieces in a house while raiding and searching for the terrorist elements of Da’ish. He held those gold pieces and phoned the homeowner. He informed the owner that he was from Maysan province and belonged to the 5th Infantry Division, and wanted to give him his property that he held in fear of it being stolen by Da’ish. He reported what he had found to his division, which prompted the commander to honor him for his military truthfulness, honesty and protection of public property. We salute this Soldier and hope to see many more such honest and trustworthy people serving our nation.
A Warrior Defends His Wounded Colleague
A squad from the 7th Division Command was subjected to an intense terrorist attack from different directions, which forced it to take a defensive position. One of the warriors was injured attempting to fight off one of the attackers. He pulled away from the Hummer in which his colleagues were entrenched. Attempts to rescue him failed and other warriors were injured. The military squad had to retreat upon orders from their commander. The wounded warrior’s colleague and fellow fighter was present with him and refused to retreat and leave his friend behind for Da’ish. He dismounted from the Hummer, crawled a long way until he reached the wounded warrior and fought heroically to prevent Da’ish from approaching them until military support rescued both of them. We salute and honor his bravery.
Social media networks circulated a video clip showing a hero warrior who fell into the hands of Da’ish. They asked him to repeat: “The Islamic State reigns.” He refused to utter these words in spite of Da’ish terrorists’ insistence. He did not fulfill their wish and challenged them with great courage despite knowing the fate awaiting him. May the souls of those who are loyal to their faith and homeland rest in peace.
We must remember the stance of the blissful martyr and warrior, Mustafa al-‘Athara, who was captured by Da’ish. They carried out an unjust execution against him and mutilated his body in Fallujah district. Although he was killed, he broke these tyrants with his attitude and courage. He exposed the criminal gangs’ savagery and barbarism. With such an attitude, he sent a message that victory will be achieved no matter how long it takes. Sacrifice and heroism were not limited to warriors. Commanders also shared the same stances. Since its reformation in 2004, the Iraqi military has lost many division commanders. Among those we remember are Staff Brig. Gen. Muhammad al-Karawi, commander of the 7th Division; Staff Maj. Gen. Najm al-Sudani, commander of the 6th Division; and Staff Brig. Gen. Hasan ‘Abbas Tufan, commander of al-Jazeera and al-Badiya operations and of the First Rapid Intervention Division. May their souls rest in peace.
We don’t forget the heroic stances of women in Iraq. They confront terrorist Da’ish gangs and engage in defending the homeland. It is not possible to forget the martyr Umayma Ijbara who was martyred while confronting Da’ish. We cannot forget the women of Amerli who joined ranks with the men and made many sacrifices in defense of the homeland. Defending Amerli was not limited to men — women played an effective, steadfast role. Women of Iraq: We salute you.